How to Swim Two Miles Without Really Trying
My Grandfather Swam Two Miles to Save His Future Wife and Friends.
This is a true story my grandfather told me, sort of. Because I was not present to record the dialogue, it is correctly described as fiction. The story is told in two parts because I didn't hear the second part until I was a teenager. In elementary school, I used to marvel at my grandfather's courage and ability. "My grandpa swam two miles once!"
Left on the Water of Galveston Bay
In the early 1930's, my grandfather, Abe, and his future wife, Angel, were on a double date. They were planning to rent a boat on Galveston bay:
"Jack", said Abe. "This place looks good. Maybe we can make a deal."
"We'd better, soon. We promised to have the girls home by ten", said Jack.
"We only have one boat available", said the man behind the counter. "It doesn't have a motor, but we can tow you out and pick you up later."
"I'll pick you up in a couple of hours", the boatman said to the four. "Good fishing."
They each cast their lines, but nothing was biting.
"You think they would have taken us to a better location. How long have we been out here?", said Jack.
"About three hours", said Angel. "He should be picking us up anytime now."
Two hours later they were still sitting there...
"I think he forgot us." said Abe. "What do you think we should do?"
"You're the one from Galveston, Abe. Don't you know how to swim?" , Jack said jokingly.
"I'll give it a shot.", said Abe.
"But it's two miles!", said Angel.
"I'll be okay. I can swim like a fish", said Abe.
Abe set off. This was in the days before floatation devices were mandatory on boats. It seemed like forever, but he finally made it to shore. An hour and a half after leaving the boat, he returned with an embarrassed boatman.
"I fell asleep,and forgot all about you. The boss says the next time that you come, it will be free."
"You are not towing ME our here again", said Angel.
The girls both got home late, but Angel's parents were pleased with Abe's courage and tenacity.
"I'm lucky to have such a heroic boyfriend.", said Angel.
What My Grandfather Didn't Tell My Grandmother
I never met my grandmother, Angel. She died in 1963, before I was born. My mother grew up hearing the story of my Grandpa's brave deed. He told me the rest of the story when I was a teenager...
"I started swimming for the shore. It seemed like a long way off. I swam about a hundred yards when I stopped and treaded water so I could keep my bearings."
"It was then that I realized that the water was only about four feet deep. I walked the rest of the way in. I was glad, too, because I didn't think I could possible swim that far. When I returned, they acted like I was the greatest American hero. They never knew the truth.
"My future father-in-law said to me quietly when I took Angel home, 'I bet your were glad you were able to walk in the last 200 yards. That's how far out the sandbar goes.' "
"We were actually only 300 yards out, but I never told them that."